UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
The Educator Preparation Program is required to certify to the state that each program graduate recommended for teacher certification has the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to be a successful classroom teacher. Content knowledge is assessed in a variety of courses and through DPI-required content tests (e.g., Praxis II). Skills (performances) are assessed in education classes and related field experiences. But how can we know if a person possesses the professional dispositions—the professional ethics and the inclination to enact those ethics—that will guide them in their interactions with students, families, colleagues, and communities?
A pattern of action that shows up in the course of teacher preparation will likely also show up later on the job. We conclude that a candidate who shows promptness, courtesy, and scrupulous attention to detail will act likewise when employed. A person habitually late, rude, or careless in pre-service work is, in contrast, likely to have trouble in a teaching position. As an institution that prepares teachers, we owe parents, citizens, and our state's P-12 students our best professional judgment and keenest observations when making assessments
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires that Wisconsin Educator Preparation Programs "shall insure all students completing programs at both the initial and advanced level demonstrate the knowledge, dispositions, and performances that substantiate competence in the standards in subch. II at required exit level proficiency through multiple measures over time designed or adopted by the SCD culminating in assessment during student teaching, internships or practicums" (see Wisconsin Administrative Code PI 34).
The professional dispositions draw on the model standards for beginning teachers, developed by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). The complete INTASC document is available at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) website (http://www.ccsso.org/intasc.html). The identification and evaluation of professional dispositions is part of UWRF's professional responsibility.
Teacher candidates who have been accepted into a UWRF educator preparation program will be assessed regularly to determine their progress in academic performance, field experiences, and professionalism. The PDA form is one of many assessment tools used in the program. The PDA process we use follows: One class at the beginning of each Educator Preparation Program is selected for presentation and trial use of the PDA form. All candidates will, at the end of this introductory course, provide a self-rating of their current professional disposition development. The instructor will also complete the form for each candidate, providing him/her with feedback on strengths and areas that can be improved upon throughout the program. Although this trial form will be kept in the candidate's file, this first use of the form is informational; it will not be used by program personnel for any purpose other than informing the candidate of the form's existence and its use. Additionally, all program applicants will be provided the form and asked to sign a copy recognizing its existence and use when they apply for entry into UWRF's Educator Preparation programs.
After the initial trial use, the form may be used by any instructor who believes that a candidate is not meeting a particular professional standard. The completed form must be accompanied by a description of the behavior and available documentation that indicates failure to meet the standard. Normally, the form will be completed at the end of a given semester after the instructor has worked unsuccessfully with the candidate to help him/her meet the standard. The form can, however, be completed at any time. The instructor will notify the candidate that a PDA form has been filed. Completed PDA forms will be stored in the student files (Field Experiences office, WEB 203. In accordance with FERPA Student Rights, teacher candidates may view their completed forms via request to Field Experiences, and may provide a written response to a PDA form for their file, also via Field Experiences.)
If a cooperating teacher, faculty or staff member has additional or urgent concerns with a teacher candidate's dispositions, the faculty or staff member will fill out the Professional Disposition Assessment Form. After completing this form the individual submitting the form should meet with the student and present the form and concerns to the student and the form will be submitted to the Dean's office with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Education and Professional Studies. A committee made up of the two Associate Deans of the College of Education and Professional Studies, the Director of Field Experience and a member of the program department is required to meet with the teacher candidate to discuss remediation strategies if:
- an instructor requests a meeting, or
- a teacher candidate receives two Professional Assessment Forms of Concern or
- a teacher candidate requests a meeting.
If a teacher candidate receives three or more Professional Assessment Forms of Concern, the committee shall review documentation and:
- permit the teacher candidate to proceed in the program with appropriate remediation, OR
- remove the teacher candidate from the program.
Teacher candidates who wish to appeal the committee's decision must prepare a written appeal and present it to the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. The Dean may make the final decision or refer the appeal to the faculty.
- Adapted from PDA form developed by the Department of Teaching and Learning at Washington State University